Dry skin, medically termed as xerosis, is an indication that your skin doesn’t have enough moisture. There are a lot of conditions and factors that can lead to loss of moisture and dryness in your skin. They include bacterial and fungal infections, inadequate hydration, skin sensitivity and even the weather.
The area where you are experiencing dry, and sometimes also cracked, skin can tell you a lot about what has caused it.
Two areas commonly affected include between the fingers (interdigital folds) and between the eyebrows (glabellar region). Let’s look at each condition in more detail.
1. Dry skin in between fingers
The skin will look and feel dry and may start peeling. The dryness usually occurs between a few fingers such as the thumb and index finger or the pinkie and the ring finger. It may occur on one hand or both.
In more serious cases the dryness leads to cracking. If left untreated the cracks may widen and even start to bleed. This could cause a serious infection.
The most common cause of dry skin between the fingers is eczema. This is a common skin condition characterised by dry, inflamed and cracked patches of skin.
Researchers still don’t know what exactly causes eczema but it is thought to be an overreaction by the immune system to an irritant. So check whether there is a product you are using that might be causing the condition.
Genetics also play a role.
Other possible causes of eczema include stress, hormonal changes such as those during pregnancy, allergens and very cold or hot weather.
Away from eczema, the dryness could simply be because you are not moisturizing adequately. This is especially so during extreme weather (hot or cold) and when you are in constant contact with water.
Sensitivity to a certain chemical in your skincare products can also cause dryness between your fingers.
Treatment and Prevention
In most cases dry skin between the fingers can be easily treated at home. First try to figure out what might be causing it.
If you are spending too much time in water, reduce it or wear rubber gloves. If you suspect it is a product you are using, stop using it for a while and see if it helps. If you think it’s your shower gel, try to use a good shower gel for dry skin.
Look for a good non-irritant moisturizing cream and use it frequently on the affected areas.
As you wait for the dryness to go away, avoid scratching is it could make it worse. You might even introduce an infection if you have cracks.
If the dryness doesn’t go away see a dermatologist for more specialised diagnosis and treatment.
To prevent dry skin make sure you maintain a strict moisturising regimen. Get a good night cream to apply on your hands before bed and another for use through the day. Avoid too much direct contact with water and only use non-irritating skincare products.
2. Dry skin in between eyebrows
You’ll notice dry flaky skin between your eyebrows and sometimes even under them and on your eyelids. The dryness may also spread across your forehead and appear whitish. The dry skin may even cause an acne breakout.
Like dry skin between the fingers there may be non-serious run-of-the-mill causes or a more serious condition causing the dryness.
In the case of dry skin between the eyebrows the serious condition that’s usually to blame is seborrheic dermatitis. It mostly affects the scalp but can spread to oily areas of the face including the area between your eyebrows, your forehead, eyelids and around the ears.
As with eczema researchers are not completely sure what causes it but could be an overreaction of the immune system. Stress, a weak immune system and certain medications can also contribute to seborrheic dermatitis.
Non-serious causes of dryness between your eyebrows include inadequate moisturization, over-cleansing and sensitivity to certain chemicals in your skincare products.
Treatment and Prevention
In most cases you can treat the condition at home by moisturising regularly and avoiding non-irritant products.
But if it is a serious form of seborrheic dermatitis, you might need to see your dermatologist. It’s a stubborn condition that doesn’t usually go away without some medication.
To prevent dryness between your eyebrows make sure your skin is always well moisturised. Apply a non-irritant cream, lotion or oil and massage frequently. Additionally, do not over-exfoliate or over-cleanse your face as it can strip away your natural oils and leave your skin too dry.
Finally, avoid skin products that might irritate your skin.